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LIFE IS GOOD AGAIN

The U.S. Treasury did not default.  Gabby Giffords returned to Capitol Hill and rallied her House colleagues on the importance of unity. And it looks like our grandchildren will be paying off our nation’s debt. Good news breaking all around  (at least for many of us who have been supporting adult children and have no problem learning they may one day have to do the same.)

Will checkbook journalism go the way of Joe Camel?

Ever an optimist, I am a great believer in our flawed institutions and the flawed people who run them.  After all, during my lifetime I’ve seen the most radical reforms. Among my favorites:  big Tobacco brought to its knees, forced to pay $368 billion in health-related damages and retire Joe Camel. That was right up there with the break up of the Bell Telephone monopoly and the fall of communism.  

In the realm of  anything is possible,  it now appears Ben Sherwood is saving ABC News — if not its ratings, at least its integrity.  Swimming fiercely against the current, the new ABC News boss has announced the end of the scandalous practice of writing large checks for competitive news interviews under the guise of “licensing fees” for photos or video. See? If you wait (or live) long enough, the things you care about the most will turn out okay. Read the rest of this entry »

AFTER THE ARIZONA SHOOTING, GRAPPLING WITH POLITICAL OPPORTUNISM AND THE MEDIA BLAMESTORM

Jared Lee Loughner, Independent, hasn't voted since 2008

I’ve now listened to three full days analysis of the tragedy in Arizona which left six people dead, 14 more injured including Rep. Gabriella Giffords who’s still fighting for her  life.  The 72-hour blamestorm seems almost as crazy as the events of Saturday,  drowning out just about everything reasonable citizens should really be debating.  But instead of looking at gun laws that allow an unstable student  to buy an automatic weapon in 15 minutes or less, we’re talking about who besides the shooter has blood on their hands.

Paul Krugman, for one, wrote in the Sunday New York Times that the toxic rhetoric from the right is to blame.  He specifically named Michelle Bachmann, Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly among those who stoke the anger.  Krugman connects the dots from a 2009 Homeland Security report that warned of a rise in right wing extremism to a 300% rise in threats against members of Congress.  He writes that many threats were made by those mentally disturbed, and then offers this premise: that something in America is whipping up a great number of them  to act out their illness with violence.

Paul!  The Nobel committee is calling.  They want their prize back.  Your argument doesn’t even factor in, uh, the impact of the economy on mental health. Read the rest of this entry »